Run, Walk, or Wear Green...St. Patrick's Day weekend in Madison
by Laura Kocum
on Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 at 6:09am.
The Irish and Irish-ish alike will fill downtown Madison for the city's annual Saint Patrick's Day festivities. On Sunday, March 16, the fun begins at 10 a.m. with the Shamrock Shuffle, a 5K/10K race or 2 mile walk providing exercise and entertainment down State Street, and around campus. "It's fun to grow something that helps nonprofits, and provides a healthy activity at the beginning of spring," says Race Director Steve Donovan. The 12th annual Shamrock Shuffle will include up to 5,000 participants. Families, and even kids in strollers are welcome to run or walk the course. Pets can't participate, due to insurance guidelines. All are encouraged to wear green, and pick out their best Irish-themed costumes. Spectators can station themselves anywhere along the course, and will enjoy the UW Marching Band if they set up near the Observatory. The race ends at noon with a party at State Street Brats. Participants over age 21 will enjoy a free beer. All proceeds from the Shamrock Shuffle benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.
After a brat and beer, head up to the Capitol Square, and enjoy the 18th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. The parade attracts up to 10,000 people each year, to see Irish dancers, leprechauns, and winners of contests like "most freckles," "reddest hair," and "largest clan." Irish pride is everywhere as entertainers and floats loop the square, and provide fun and lots of green for area charities. Ed Jaeger, Parade Chair, says "It's such a great family event. People love it, and we fill a big gap." Proceeds from the parade benefit the UW Carbone Cancer Center. Contests begin at 1 p.m., with the parade starting at 1:30 p.m. Whether you're Irish, or just happy to wear green, there is sure to be something for every age Saint Patrick's Day weekend.